In tune with the times

Many young netas from the region feel that the archaic guidelines need to be junked, report Naveen Garewal, Shubhadeep Choudhry & Geetanjali Gayatri

IT should be left to the Congressmen to decide what attire they want to wear. Khadi is my favourite. During pre-Independence times, use of khadi was emphasised because there was no alternative. The idea was to benefit our own economy and people while discouraging use of British goods. Now, with everything manufactured within our own country, choosing it should be a matter of preference. — Deepinder Hooda, MP from Rohtak.

Before Independence, swadeshi was a religion for the Indians. The emphasis on khadi was Gandhiji’s way of promoting our own handloom industry and boycotting British goods. This made donning khadi the done thing those days. In the changed times, a lot of options are open and we must make a concession to that. There can be no comparison between the 1947 movement for freedo and the times of 2007. — Randeep Singh Surjewala, Haryana Power Minister

The Indian National Congress was formed with a view to fight the British. Use of khadi and refraining fro alcohol were merely the media to succeed in this fight. In the 21st century, when obsolete laws can be amended, why should the Congressmen live in the past?

Rahul Gandhi’s suggestion is very "forward-looking". It is best to learn from the past and push forward instead of adopting a hypocritical stance. — Kiran Chaudhary, Minister of State for Tourism, Haryana — G.G.

Khadi was promoted by the Congress as a part of Mahatma Gandhi’s aim to support rural weavers. He wanted all patriotic Indians to wear only khadi. In India public figures and politicians are expected to abstain from taking alcohol. It is a good tradition. — Raghubir Singh Kadiyan, Haryana Assembly Speaker

Clothes and abstinence from alcohol are external factors. The merit of a politician should not be judged on either of the two criteria. A politician or anyone holding an important public office should refrain from drinking publicly because people reaching high positions were often considered role models by many people. Drinking might send a wrong message. After one drink too many, a politician can speak loosely, with disastrous consequences. — Karan Singh Dalal, Congress MLA and Chairman, Administrative Reforms Commission

Khadi has lost its significance in the current era. Gandhi promoted it during the freedom movement to support to the rural cottage industry. The situation has vastly changed since then. The party prescribed abstinence from alcohol and members should follow this principle in letter and spirit. — Dharampal Malik, Congress MLA — S.C.

In today’s world you have to be practical. Behaviour and dress code should be in tune with the changing times. Being hypocritical and doing something that you don’t believe is nothing but fooling yourself and the most important thing in life is to be true to yourself. If you drink then why must you do it in hiding? Homespun cotton has its utility in summers but some times wearing western clothes is more appropriate. The first impression is the last impression, therefore, why not be at your smartest best, even if it means wearing modern and western clothes? Rahul Gandhi has proved to be a practical in his thoughts and I welcome it.

 — Sukhpal Singh Kahira, the young Congress MLA from Bholath (Kapurthala) who defeated Bibi Jagir Kaur

Rahul Gandhi has taken a bold stand and started a debate within the party which needs to be applauded. Having lived most of my life in the UK, I have seen people from India and other countries integrate with the rest of the world by adopting western attire. Similarly when you see Chinese in Washington, you find they are impeccably dressed. Our leaders too must be presentable for any national or international forum. We have the advantage of being English speaking; now we must also be flexible about the dress code. As far as drinking is concerned, it is difficult to impose a policy decision on the subject, but being practical is more important than being hypocritical. Rahul Gandhi has taken a pragmatic position on the issue, which most youngsters like me support. However, there is a need for caution here and the leadership has to ensure that the freedom to drink does not mean compromising with discipline within the ranks.

 — Jassi Khangura, Congress M.L.A from Qila Raipur, who returned to India after 44 years in the UK

— N.G.